In A Darkened Room
Gecko Studio Gallery, Fish Creek, Victoria. 11 December 2016 - 14th January 2017.
‘…bloom in a darkened room
And you just flew right into the light and came alive…’ Lloyd Cole.
Melanie Caple enjoys subtleties. Although her work may appear bold and at times complex with their rendering and juxtaposition of imagery, it is the glow of light cast and a flickering of shadow, the tenderness of new growth and the unexpected that surprises and inspires.
At once hesitant with the world and yet also brazen, the artist makes sense of felt imbalance by focusing on the minute happenings of things. Focussing on these elements – native flora blooming under a night sky, the shades and textures of a new leaf and by playing with gold, an abandon is released through each individual work.
This exhibition also, in trying to realise those contrasts, sees the artist bring together two strong elements of her practice. Where she has spent much time focussing on her ability to draw and render imagery with pencil, the act of lino cutting has proven to also be a way of utilising her skills of image making and working in a more physical way. By cutting, carving and hand printing each element, once the plates are printed, watercolour is used to bring them to life. Replicating the gardens that surround her, proteas, leucadendrons, and falling leaves come to life in an almost graphic way on the page.
(Artist Statement, December 2016.)
'Plantation,' which featured in this exhibition, was my largest largest artwork to date. Measuring 3.2 metres long by 1.5m wide, I individually printed 450 linocut works to create a giant garden. I then invited the general public to pick up a pencil and colour in a print, adding their own special touch. The result was beautiful - such a vibrant and fun collaborative work. And by the end of the exhibition it was completely full.
I Wake To See The World Gone Wild
Dick Bishop Memorial Prize Winner Solo Exhibition 8th August - 6th November 2015
I speak of love that comes to mind:
The moon is faithful, although blind;
She moves in thought she cannot speak.
Perfect care has made her bleak.
I never dreamed the sea so deep,
The earth so dark; so long my sleep,
I have become another child.
I wake to see the world go wild.
By Allen Ginsberg
Exploring the delicate and personal interactions that occur within the world, Melanie Caple’s exhibition seeks to amplify and articulate the subtleties that surround us. Elevating the sprig of a silver dollar gum or the sliver of new moon, Caple aims to weave whimsical tales through the juxtaposition of subject matter. Using mediums such as graphite, ink, spray paint and gold leaf, Caple creates works that inspire our imaginations to take flight..
There is an inherent longing for space and freedom that runs through this exhibition: mountains, flora, foliage, birds, the moon, the night sky. These are images conjured as a means of giving form to the sense of capaciousness that Gippslanders take for granted. We live in a place of physical space, but also temporal space. It affords us the time and freedom to breathe, to live, to create.
Sometimes the things that define us must be thrown into relief to give them focus. More than anything, that is the inspiration for this suite of works.
Caple asks you to consider the juxtapositions shown in the works: the wild freedom of mountains set against the mathematical strictures of musical notes; organic foliage within geometric forms; the familiar magpie against the unattainable night sky. Feel the sense of hope and wonder captured in graphite, ink and watercolour. Imagine, if you will, the artist regularly forced from home and longing for the place that makes her feel whole, safe and calm. The artist whose greatest desire is to wake to see the world gone wild.
Essay by Rick Rutjens, 2015.